With the disruption from e-commerce, the Malaysia Retailers Association expects the retail market to remain challenging over the coming years, reported The Edge.
"The market outlook can be very different from the current state. We may see a very different and changing landscape from the current situation. It depends on how the malls and the retail businesses will react to the millennial customers and the challenges from e-commerce" said MRA President Tan Sri William Cheng.
According to him, what the retailers need now is an improvement in consumer spending.
"When the economic growth is broad-based, more Malaysians will have higher take-home pay. High income means higher purchasing power" he explained.
"When take-home pay improves, consumers will have better confidence on their future prospect. This will lead to higher propensity to spend" said Cheng.
For him, successful retailers are the ones who can sell products via multiple channels, including physical stores.
Nonetheless, Cheng believes the sluggish local retail market will pick up following the general elections on 9 May.
"At the moment, the upcoming Malaysian general election maybe also one of the main reasons Malaysian consumers have been taking a wait-and-see attitude on their retail spending. Retail sale may rise after the official election campaign starts" he said at the one-day conference themed "Retail Transformation, Creativity and Beyondâ€.
"When campaigns begin, it will lead to many political and social activities throughout the country. This should motivate consumers to spend" he added.
"Post-election, consumers' spending is expected to improve further as Malaysians will focus on their own economic future and release the pent-up demand.â€